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Exhibition “A. Hays Town and the Architectural Image of Louisiana” Features Student Work

Architecture students from three universities contributed to an exhibition celebrating Louisiana architecture. The Hilliard Museum is pleased to present an exhibition that marks the legacy of its designer, famed Louisiana architect A. Hays Town. A highly collaborative project, the exhibition brings together faculty and students from the Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, and Tulane University in New Orleans, providing an opportunity for students to gain experience in exhibition research, design, and production.

The LSU School of Architecture students who participated in the exhibition design were studying the iconic Louisiana architect. “The students took a course all semester learning about A. Hays Town and his homes and studying his drawings. They then digitized them and built exhibit models for the exhibit retrospective,” said Ursula Emery McClure, A. Hays Town Professor of Architecture. “It was an honor to be a part of this beautiful exhibit!” said BArch candidate Brooke Strevig, who took the course.

The architecture students engaged in an extensive process to create models of A. Hays Town’s work for the exhibition. The project was arranged in a six step process: researching A. Hays Town research, model building trials testing craft and precision, analysis of Town’s hand drawings and reproduction through digital drafting, laser cutting and handing cutting, physically building the model, and lastly painting – lots of painting, Brooke said.

“Each process had to be completed with perfection. If something went wrong during one step, we found ourselves repeating the task prior to that. This is an iterative process we, as designers, are always practicing.”

For the students, the project was a reminder of the fundamentals of design: form, space, color, hierarchy, and level of detail. “We were able to uncover what each house was fundamentally transpiring to be or to do by studying the basic elements of A. Hays Town,” Brooke said.

“Without the students, there would not be a show,” said Emery McClure to The Advocate. “I told them, ‘This has to be perfect. It’s going in a world-class museum in the main gallery. They all have to be an ‘A.'”

“The project was more than creating a model,” Brooke said. “To me, these models were just a piece of the story that would be told during the exhibition. Each striking bold color, each different form told its own story – a story about the client, the landscape, architecture, but most of all, a story about A. Hays Town. It was important that the work we produced would showcase A. Hays Town in a way that reflected him and his passion for architecture.”

“The students’ work is fundamental to the exhibit. It is quite a show,” said Emery McClure.

The exhibition is on display at the Hilliard Museum through December 29, 2018.